In the play "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare, we see many common themes that emerge. One of the major themes is ambition, which in the end eventually leads to death. Ambition finds its most powerful expression in the play's two main characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The ambition of these main characters leads to greed, insanity, and there own death.
Macbeth is a courageous Scottish general who is not naturally inclined to commit evil deeds, yet he deeply desires power and advancement. There are three main factors that contribute greatly to Macbeth's ambition and then insanity, the prophecy's told to him by the witches, Lady Macbeth influencing and manipulating Macbeth's judgment, and Macbeth's own ambition and greed to become king. Macbeth's character degenerates from a noble man at the beginning of the play to a violent individual at the end. With his wife's cajoling, and the three witches" foretelling of his future, Macbeth will stop at nothing to gain position as Kind of Scotland.
The three witches and their prophecy's are the first major influences on Macbeth's actions. Macbeth, Thane of Glamis is content with his position, until the three witches tell him he will be Thane of Cawdor, and King of Scotland. "All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis! / All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! / All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!" (Act 1.3, 48-50). After hearing this from the witches", Macbeth and Banquo, his loyal friend, find out that King Duncan has named Macbeth "Thane of Cawdor". They then contemplate about how the rest of the prophecy will come true. The witches also advise them that Banquo's son would be King one day. "Thou shalt get Kings, though thou be none. / So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!" (Act 1.3, 67-68). As a result of the prophecies, this aroused Macbeth's curiosity of how he could be King of Scotland. As the play progresses, Macbeth slowly relies on the witches" prophecy's more.